> Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement – James Cash Penny
This quote holds especially true for the hotel industry which relies more on customer satisfaction than most other businesses. Hotels run the risk of a single bad customer experience ruining a reputation that takes several years to build.
Schools that train students to work in this industry focus their curriculum on attributes like commitment, teamwork, efficiency, flexibility, time management, communication skills, etc. The industry requires repetitive tasks to be performed with great efficiency. Chatbots are the most convenient way to meet these demands.
Text messaging is the new language of the globe. Statistics show that 63% of customers would prefer to contact a brand via an online chatbot. Hoteliers can now use chatbots to better engage with customers.
1. Handling Customer Requests
Up to 67% of queries hotel personnel receive are repetitive and revolve around the same five or six topics.
Chatbots can easily take requests for new towels, extra pillows, additional shampoo or soap, and also provide the hours of operation of various hotel amenities and serve as a clearinghouse for basic property information. Gone are the days when the guests had to fumble with a placard by the phone trying to figure out who to call.
2. Breaking the Language Barrier
Customers come from different places and cultures and thus speak different languages. Miscommunication is a major hurdle for the industry. Requests and queries are often lost in translation and personalised customer service is not delivered. Chatbots can act as a personal companion and engage with customers in the language they prefer.
3. Broadcast Notifications
Chatbots are great for personalised upselling. They can send instant reminders and notifications to guests and regularly notify them about hotel amenities like spa services, make dinner reservations and inform them about upgradable services. Bots can remind customers of check-in and check-out times and can even be used to set alarms and reminders.
4. Food Ordering
Guests can use chatbots to order food to their room. This is far more efficient than having to call the kitchen. Chatbots can display the menu enabling guests to click and instantly order.
Updates on how long the wait will be before room service arrives can be provided and orders can even be placed in advance to save time when guests are in a hurry.
5. Reconnecting With Customers
Businesses can now engage with their customers even when they are not physically at the hotel. Chatbots can continue to engage with customers even after they check out by providing them with regular updates. This definitely helps increases the chances of a repeat booking. Bots are also a channel to get feedback from customers and helps build brand loyalty.
6. Highly Efficient Marketing Tool
Chatbots are far more efficient at marketing your services than traditional email marketing channels. Since chatbots can have personalised conversations and engage users, the conversion rate is four times higher than emails.
Messages sent over Facebook Messenger have significantly higher open rates. The open rates are as high as 70-100% with a retention rate six times higher than that of email lists.
7. 24/7 Availability
Perhaps the most obvious perk of having a hotel chatbot is the fact that it serves as a 24x7 virtual assistant. They make sure every customer is attended to. Chatbots are very consistent and never get angry, upset or provoked after a long day. It’s got answers to all customer queries and even has the option of connecting to a hotel employee for complex conversations that require human interaction.
Holiday Inn has become the first major hotel chain in Japan to adopt a chatbot concierge. The AI powered chatbot services the hotel guests who check in to Holiday Inn Osaka Namba.
It is designed to empower guests through instant, real-time assistance such as exclusive recommendations for both popular and little-known sights in the area, answering questions only hotel staff would know about, or even making restaurant bookings.
This helps them and other leading hotel brands like Marriot, that are already using chatbots, to market their products and services to 1.3 billion active Facebook Messenger users and drive potential customers.
By embracing chatbots, hoteliers can now expand services through communication channels that guests increasingly prefer and feel comfortable using.
Chatbots have the potential to drive 4 times more bookings to hotels. They can reach out to more customers, improve engagement and boost room bookings. While they can never completely replace the need for humans in the industry, a synergistic coexistence between humans and AI is a fast approaching reality.